Several interesting project challenges, covering technological advances like outer space tools, autonomous cars, smart cities, and drones, have been put forth by celebrity engineer Grant Imahara, of Mythbusters and BattleBots fame, and Mouser Electronics Inc., one of the world’s top semiconductor and electronic components distributors, in the company’s award-winning Empowering Innovation Together program.
The program, which has been going on since 2015, is one of the most easily recognized in the electronic component industry today. The series itself is actually a collection of collaborative projects and challenges, often dealing with 3D printing. But this time around, it’s dealing with robots.
“This series looks beyond the basic question of ‘can we build a better robot?’ to the real question: whether we should,” Imahara explained. “And if we do, how does that change our role in the world?”
Mouser’s goal for its Empowering Innovation Together series this year is to use the program to reach even more innovators worldwide than previous years, by focusing on how robots can potentially impact humanity.
This week, Mouser and Imahara released the second video in the program’s Generation Robot series, which aims to dissolve the misconceptions regarding robots and people working together. Once again, the series is supported by Mouser’s suppliers Analog Devices, Intel, Microchip Technology, and Molex.
“Robots are likely to be as disruptive as the automobile, causing us to rethink the way we live and work,” the description reads. “In this 5-part video series, Grant Imahara departs on another technical journey to explore the frontier of robotics, meeting with researchers, engineers and visionaries shaping the robotic future.”
In this latest video, Imahara visits Augsburg, Germany to see the Development and Technology Center of KUKA Robotics, an Industry 4.0 pioneer and one of the world’s leading robotics suppliers; KUKA has also worked with MakerBot to show how robotics will change the world of manufacturing for the better.
Imahara has experience working on many of the more famous robotic characters, such as the Energizer Bunny and R2-D2. So I’m certain he was excited for the chance to see inside the KUKA facility, where engineers are hard at work designing and developing robots that can work in a wide variety of environments, from docks and factories to doctors’ offices.
These days, robots are becoming increasingly mainstream and collaborative, working right next to people in multiple industries. But as their presence increases, so too do misconceptions and concerns about robotics in general.
“Robots are undoubtedly a major part of our future, but exactly how we work with them — and alongside them — is still relatively uncertain. With the Generation Robot series, Mouser and Grant Imahara look to highlight the top engineering minds that are working to answer these questions,” said Glenn Smith, the President and CEO of Mouser Electronics.
In the Generation Robot series, Imahara is investigating what it truly means for robots and humans to work together, and also taking a look at the many ways humanity can benefit from these interactions. He will also take a deep dive into the roles that machine learning and artificial intelligence play in collaborative, future robots, as well as more technical concepts, like the functional differences between traditional, industrial robots and newer, more collaborative ones.
The video at KUKA will also touch on more philosophical topics, such as robots working with humans instead of replacing them, and if jobs could possibly be eliminated as a result.
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